Electricity to Your Campsite
Camping is a great way to temporarily escape your everyday concerns. Instead of fighting traffic and dealing with the stresses of work, you're out in the beautiful wilderness enjoying the fresh air. One of the drawbacks of heading into the great outdoors is that there are no electrical outlets in the trees. Some people enjoy roughing it without electricity, while others like to bring along some of the comforts of home. Whether you're camping in a state-of-the-art RV with air conditioning and cable TV or sleeping under the stars in a sleeping blanket, here are some things you can think about.
Lighting is probably your primary electricity-related concern at a campsite. Even if you build a nice, warm fire, you'll still have to find your way around in the dark. Propane lamps and candles will certainly cast some light, but they can be somewhat dangerous, particularly in dry conditions. (You don't want to be the one who starts a forest fire, after all.) For many years, campers used flashlights with incandescent bulbs and alkaline batteries. Those campers were often frustrated by the relatively short battery life and fragile nature of the bulbs. Instead, you might want to consider buying lithium-ion batteries and flashlights equipped with light-emitting diodes (LEDs). These kinds of flashlights are much brighter and generally last longer.
Your second-biggest concern is the level of electric power you'll want to use while camping. If you are planning to head out in a great big RV, you'll have electricity for lots of appliances, but you'll have to find a campsite with the proper electric hookups. According to Mark J. Polk, writing for rveducation.com, most wired campsites will provide you with an external 120-volt power source. (This is the same kind of juice that you use in your home.) All you need to do to hook in is plug in the RV's long extension cable.
Recreational vehicles, Polk emphasizes, feature both AC and DC systems. You'll use Alternating Current for the microwave and all the appliances you plug into your RV's outlets. Direct Current (after it's converted by a transformer) powers the overhead lights, water pump and more. Even if you're not hooked up to a campsite outlet, you can likely power these devices with your RV's onboard batteries—until they run out, of course.
There are solutions other than using a campsite's New York Electricity that are far less comprehensive. If you simply want to power a few devices, you can draw power from your car's battery or bring along a generator. Using your car's battery for everything has one big drawback: if you use too much power, your car's battery will have too little charge to start. No one wants to be stranded on a campsite. Therefore, be careful and be sure to run your engine when necessary. (After you turn on your car, a part called an alternator charges the car's battery.) At least one brave camper out there has used his car battery to power a small air conditioner. While this will definitely help you sleep better during a sweltering summer evening, you should only attempt this yourself if you really know what you're doing.
Camping generators come in all shapes and sizes, and it takes a little effort to decide which is the best for you. According to camping.org, it's important to know how much noise a generator makes, as some national parks and campsites have decibel limits. (A loud generator may also make it hard for you to sleep!) Generators that start with a pullstring can sometimes be a pain; consider a model that features a pushbutton start. Some generators use regular gasoline as fuel, while others use diesel, so make sure you bring the right kind with you. It's definitely not a good idea to put gasoline into a diesel engine or vice versa!
Your final option is to experience nature on its own terms. While you shouldn't go camping without a flashlight or electric lantern, it is possible to disconnect from everything electronic. Even though many generators and electric setups are easy to use, they can still be a distraction from what is happening around you when you're in the wilderness. Maybe a tent, a flashlight and a good book are all you need…for a short period of time. This kind of camping might even help you appreciate the modern world even more!